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New Zealand Steps Closer to Meaningful Action on Climate


New Zealand Steps Closer to Meaningful Action on Climate

The New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD) to the United Nations climate negotiations to be held next month welcomes New Zealand's overnight ratification of the Paris Agreement, but says there's still no evidence that the Government has a plan to meet its already weak commitments.

“New Zealand has shown up to the party just in the nick of time but with nothing to show for itself.” says NZYD Co-Convenor Erica Finnie.

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett announced that New Zealand is showing a strong commitment by ratifying in the first block, but Finnie says that “New Zealand’s low intended national contribution and lack of plan to achieve it undermines any commitment shown by this timeliness.”

“Ratification simply says that New Zealand wants a seat at the table, but we need meaningful targets and a reliable plan to get there to show real commitment.”

“New Zealand’s weak intended contribution is a reminder of the challenges ahead, and gives insight into how the capacity for the Paris Agreement to prevent catastrophic climate change is dependent on the ambition and action of countries. Our trading partners will push us to up our game in 2018, when the United Nations will evaluate every country’s targets. We need actual reductions in emissions and we need them as soon as possible - delaying will only make it harder,” Finnie says.

“Commitment to us doesn't look like dodgy emissions accounting rules, purchasing faulty carbon credits, and attempts to sweep the ‘dairy farm in the room’ under the rug.”, says Finnie.

“For us to truly be a part of the global solution we need to live up to the expectations of our whānau in the Pacific who are facing the destructive results of climate change right now. New Zealand must be an ally to those states in their fight for survival.”

“The Agreement gives New Zealand the opportunity for innovation within the global solution, to step up to the plate and bat for those suffering the consequences of climate change right now. If New Zealand is going to claim being among the first block of countries to ratify the agreement as an achievement, we must follow with meaningful action and do our fair share.”


NZYD is the New Zealand Youth Delegation to the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Marrakech, Morocco from November 7 - 18. Members of the delegation are Erica Finnie, Rachel Dobric, Madeleine Ashton-Martyn, Briar Wyatt, Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, Alex Johnston, Na’or Alfassi Berman, Lottie Boardman and Laurette Siemonek.

Parties to the Paris Agreement must submit an instrument of ratification to the United Nations that outlines how they have gone through a domestic ratification process as well as a plan to achieve the emissions reduction in their Nationally Determined Contribution.

The goals of the Paris Agreement include limiting warming to 2 above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5. Achieving this relies on both the ambition of independently set national reduction targets, and the ability of countries to produce and follow a plan to achieve them.

During consultation for New Zealand’s intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) the vast majority of submissions from climate scientists, academics, and climate experts called for a 40% emissions reduction from 1990’s level. New Zealand’s current intended contribution of a 30% reduction below 2005 levels translates to only an 11% reduction from 1990’s leve.

The current INDC as submitted to the United Nations outlines a strategy to reach this target that relies on access to international carbon markets which means that the amount of carbon that New Zealand actually contributes to the atmosphere may not decrease by the targeted amount.


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